How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near North Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near North Little Rock AR is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in North Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including North Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many North Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some North Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several North Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local North Little Rock AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in North Little Rock AR.